tv U.S. Senate Menendez After Blocking Stimulus Vote CSPAN March 23, 2020 9:51am-10:08am EDT
for decades and decades, to loan money not only to big companies, but medium sized companies and small companies under a federal reserve program commonly known as section 13, subparagraph 3. so i would just say to my colleagues, mr. president, before we come down here and make inaccurate statements, read the bill. understand what we're doing, understand that this is to get money to workers who need to stay on the job. this is a bill to get unemployment benefits to workers who are already off the job and an injection of cash into our economy and a prop up on a loan basis with interest to be repaid to keep the airlines and related businesses afloat. i hope we pass this. i know americans are hoping and praying for this tonight, and
perhaps by the early light of morning we'll have good news on this. thank you, mr. president, i yield the floor. >> mr. president, i come to the floor, i've been listening for the better part of well over an hour to my colleagues talk about the vote that we had a little earlier and why it didn't pass and why, from their perspective, it should have. let me start off that there's a sense of urgency, but there's also a sense of getting it right. and getting our priorities right. wealth of the nation will only improve when the health of the nation improves and this package, as presently designed falls far short of what is necessary to make the health of the nation whole. we need a surge at the end of
the day to ensure that, in fact, we can have the front lines, the hospitals, the medical workers, the nurses, all of those be able to achieve the most fundamental goal, which is to make the american people safe. safe from this virus. this in the first and foremost instance is a fight against covid-19. first and foremost. because if we do not get the health of the nation right, we will not get the wealth of the nation right, no matter how much money we spend. so there's a lot of talk here about markets. i heard for the last, better half of the last plus hour, about markets and yet, the markets are important, i don't underestimate that, but what's really important is the health of the american people.
because when they are healthy, we will prosper. but when they are not, we will not prosper. when we meet the challenge of the pandemic, we will prosper. when we don't meet the challenge of the pandemic, we will not prosper. very simple. very simple. so, first and foremost, this is about having a robust figure for the hospital and health front line workers. this package as it presently is devised failed to do so. secondly, this is about making sure that not just big corporations get the moneys that they need, but that average working families and individuals get the robust assistance that they need to get through this period of time. and you know, when you have a
$425 billion, billion fund that has total discretion of the secretary of the treasury, no guardrails, no guarantees for workers, no guarantees that despite how much money we spend and give to large corporate entities, that they will not guarantee the well-being of workers, then something is wrong. i was here, i've been through september 11th, i've been through super storm sandy in new jersey and the northeast. i've never seen anything like this, but i also remember, after the great recession, the errors we made on the tarp and other related programs. in our desire to overwhelmingly respond which we still have that desire today, there were
great mistakes made. how many times are we going to get a shot at a trillion plus dollar program? how many times? so we need to not only have a sense of urgency, we need to get it right. in order to affect the well-being of the american people in their health, in their economic well-being, and in the future economic well-being of the nation. so this rush in a way that doesn't get it right is dangerous because i don't know how many trillion plus packages we're going to have. and then when i look at the language in this present legislation, my god, it's shameful, shameful that in the midst of a pandemic, the ideological views of seeking to be incorporated in a way that
has nothing to do with dealing with covid-19. nothing. the denial of certain health groups of being able to have access at a critical time in our country, nothing to do with covid-19. a $425 billion slush fund that's basically the secretary of the treasury can say, i like you, you get this. i don't like you, you get nothing. there's no transparency, no way for the congress to know. six months after you give a loan is when we might finally find out. that's unacceptable. we have to know that when we're making these investments that they protect workers, that we're not going to have all of this money in part be used for stock buybacks. that we're not going to see corporate executives have big
increases in their salaries. and benefits. that's not what the american people's taxpayer money is for. that's why there were votes against proceeding because we have to get it right. we have to get it right. how is it that there are no provisions in the present bill. in foreclosures, in evictions. people are going to face unprecedented consequences not because of their own making, not of moral hazard, they're fired, they're left without any money. are we going to evict them from their home? does that serve the public health in the midst of pandemic? no. there are no consequences for that. how is it that we have no
parameters of how the treasury would structure loans? how is it we have no worker protections to ensure that the very essence of why we want companies to be able to sustain themselves, and we do both small, medium and big, we want them to sustain themselves, but we want them to sustain themselves for what? to be able to keep workers employed, to be able to keep the economy going, not to improve simply the bottom lines. why is it that we can't have solid stock buyback language which could be waived under the present legislation by treasury? why when we do talk in this limited way in the bill that's existing that we're debating, that worker extension to the
possible, or practicable. that means anything. that's not a protection. why do we have no loan transparency? we're talking about giving average americans a morsel when we're spending billions of dollars with no transparency whatsoever with no guardrails, with no conditions. ... ensure, warrants that can ensure that the government will recover. the government meaning the united states taxpayer will recover its money. these are simply just not ways these are simply just not ways how come there is no student loan forgiveness? not a delay. not a delay, forgiveness. why is there no direct grants
assistance to small businesses? it's great to get a loan if you're making money, but if you're not makingo money, a loan doesn't do anything for you because you can't pay it back because there's no revenue coming.he so the small businesses which are really the backbone of the nation, the backbone of who ultimately employs americans, oh, were going to give you a loan. that's great but i have no income coming. i'm a shut down. it that alone is going to ultimately be able to have me survive so that i can have americans return back to a job? i need some direct grant assistance. who's on the front line? i learned on september 11 when i was in the other body in the house of representatives, it wasn't the federal government who responded on that fateful day. it was the states. it was the local municipalities. we lost 700 citizens in new jersey on september 11.
we triaged people from downtown manhattan into new jersey hospitals. it wasn't the federal government that responded. it was the states and local municipalities. how is it that you cannot be forceful in giving a significant amount of money to states and local municipalities for at the frontline of covid-19? is the federal government there? no. it's the states burning up enormous amounts of money of their state treasury to do what is rightiv by their citizens. but we're not giving them any money. there's nothing virtually in this bill for that. the national governors association, republicans and democratic governors say we need at least about 150 -$200 billion. we got a pittance in this bill. how are they, the frontline defense going to continue to meet this challenge? they will go bankrupt. i will go bankrupt.
how is it that there's no s.n.a.p. increase, the most vulnerable in our society? we've never seen a downturn in our economy in which we have not considered s.n.a.p. as they vertical element of being able to feed people, to feed people. so, mr. president, that's what i want to know. that's why i voted no. i'm all for helping businesses be ultimately capable of surviving, but i want them to survive because i want their workers to be able to survive as well. above all i want the american people to get healthy, and i can't get them healthy unless we have a marshall plan for hospitals and first providers at the frontline.
i can't solve a problem if i don't have the states and municipalities to be able to achieve what they critically need as the federal government waits. can't have the health of the nation unless we have the surge on testing, protective equipment, for our first line of defense, and then ultimately,, for those who face the greatest risk under this virus, be able to have a shot at surviving, life or death with ventilators. this bill falls short in all those regards. none of us want to vote no to proceed, but we can't proceed to something that is a false, a false hope to the american people. we have to do what is right, what is right is to protect the health care of the american people, be able to beat
covid-19, be able to stand up individuals, families, workers, and companies that will honor their obligation to workers as part of the federal response to them, and that will help the states and municipalities in their frontline challenges. that's why we n could not vote o proceed. that's why there exists a prescient moment. you know, we had an opportunity, every other bill started off with both houses and the leadership of both houses negotiating a bill. the first two iterations had bipartisan support because they were done that way. this one was done where the republican majority in the senate decided we're going to decide what you want to see and then will offer i it to you and baby would change some things or not. that's not the way in the midst of a pandemic. to ultimately work. we lost nearly a week. instead of doing the bipartisan efforts that we could have had
nearly a week ago, and then we are pressed and create this drama that effect if it's not done right now, it's a consequent. that's unacceptable. right. to get this we are not going to get multiple shots at trillion dollar programs. we have to get this right. we have to have the affect ultimately hope the american people survived the critical challenges before them. that's what's before the senate now.w. i hope that the minds prevailed here to workan towards a bipartisanal agreement that bris all of these elements together. yes, no site has a the view of how we achieve this but both sides of critical views necessary. and from our perspective this is about beating covid-19 first. it is a circular hospitals and frontline healthcare workers. it is a surge for workers to
enter theus small business and e opportunity to make sure they survived so that the end of the day people can go back to work. that's what this is all about. and that's why i feel compelled to come to the floor. with that, mr. president, i would ask the absence of the court. >> mr. president, on her because i'm actually shocked at what happened on this floor a little while ago. -- i'm here because -- on going to try to convey to my colleagues a sense of the urgency that i think this moment demands, and they apparently don't understand because our democratic colleagues all voted to prevent us from considering this legislation. so let me start with the context that we are operating in, mr. president, because it's unbelievable. i wouldn't think i would need to go through this, but just to be